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MELISSA SWEET | January 27, 2015 | EVIDENCE-BASED ISSUES | |

Queensland policies on mental health: doing harm & breaching the law?

The use of ‘locked wards’ in acute mental health services is not backed by evidence and is associated with greater risk of patient self-harm and increased violence and aggression, according to a new analysis by UTS researcher Jon Wardle. Wardle suggests that Queensland Government support for locked wards policies may be in breach of the [...]

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MELISSA SWEET | January 26, 2015 | INDIGENOUS HEALTH | |

A call to rally behind #SurvivalDay and learn about Australia’s real history

Nathan Appo writes: I’m an Indigenous man from Innisfail living in Brisbane and I love Australia. This year I will celebrate #SurvivalDay in recognition that Aboriginal people of Australia have overcome genocide, imprisonment, have had our country taken from us, and yet remain to be the longest known living culture in the world. I will [...]

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MICHELLE HUGHES | January 23, 2015 | QLD ELECTION 2015 | 1 |

At #QldVotes, there is silence on violence

Betty Taylor has worked within the domestic violence sector for over 25 years, chairing the Queensland Domestic Violence Council for two terms.

Domestic violence is occurring at shocking levels across Australia, in this post Betty argues that it is time for focus and policy solutions in Queensland.

Betty writes:

Well the Queensland election is now in full swing with both major and minor parties out on the hustings with promises and counter promises announced daily. Asset sales/ leases, new roads, schools, extra teachers, extra nurses, gas & coal mining, saving the Barrier Reef and a plethora of other issues.

Our leaders are busy I know but I can’t accept that no-one has mentioned domestic and family violence and the fact that three Queensland women and one man have been killed in the first three weeks of 2015. This together with another four women killed across Australia and we have a national tragedy. Seven women killed in three weeks and no-one is talking about it.

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MICHELLE HUGHES | January 22, 2015 | CLIMATE CHANGE | 2 |

This election let’s focus on what is important: health, the economy and climate change

As the rest of Australia watches with interest to see what verdict Queenslanders will give the Newman government, the battle for votes has left our northern neighbours with some huge issues to consider in a short amount of time. In this post Sue Cooke, provides food for thought on the key issues of health and climate change.

Sue is a Brisbane based educator, health promoter and climate activist, who has post-graduate qualifications in public health, education and environmental change.  Previously a policy adviser in the health and education sectors, she is an occasional lecturer in climate change and public health.

 Sue writes:

In uncertain times, the natural desire is for a “strong leader”.  Populist messages promising strength and clear direction are deeply appealing. Campbell Newman and his colleagues are counting on Queenslanders buying this message, if the bombardment of messages on “strength” and promises to deliver just what we want is anything to go by.  No doubt it is the best advertising our money can buy.

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FRONJACKSONWEBB | January 21, 2015 | CO-PAYMENTS | 1 |

The AMA and Medicare: a love-hate relationship

Lesley Russell writes: The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has emerged from the recent brouhaha over the Abbott government’s proposed Medicare reforms as both a winner in the protection of doctors’ incomes and an apparent champion of the affordability of health care for patients. [...] 

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MICHELLE HUGHES | January 21, 2015 | HEALTH INEQUALITIES | 1 |

Senate report shows why Australia needs to talk about inequality

This week a report on global wealth from Oxfam is making headlines ahead of the World Economic Forum. The report states that the world’s 80 richest people now own the same amount of wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion. If you think that sort of  inequality is not an issue here, consider that in Australia the richest 1% now own the same amount as the bottom 60%.  Many thanks to the Conversation for allowing us to republish this piece on the senate report on inequality  in Australia that was tabled in December 2014.

By Robert Douglas, Australian National University

Bridging our growing divide: Inequality in Australia is an important report tabled without fanfare in the Senate by its Community Affairs References Committee. The report is clearly argued and well-buttressed by data and references. The points it makes about an issue central to the kind of society we are developing in Australia deserve wide community discussion.

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FRONJACKSONWEBB | January 21, 2015 | CO-PAYMENTS | 2 |

New funding models are a long-term alternative to Medicare co-payments

Peter Sivey writes: The Abbott government is struggling with its Medicare co-payment reform, scrapping the latest version for a period of consultation, starting this week. The government claims it wants to make Medicare sustainable by controlling costs. However the proposed reforms are piecemeal and inequitable, antagonising Medicare’s stakeholders [...]

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MELISSA SWEET | January 20, 2015 | HEALTH IMPACT ASSESSMENT | 7 |

Wonky Health has found new jobs for Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey and some of their Ministerial colleagues

Inspired public health leadership is hardly the hallmark of the Abbott Government. But if the Government wanted a “complete health makeover” (and even some of its own MPs seem to favour this), then Dr Tim Senior has some ideas for a political revolution – to be lead by a Prime Minister for Health. His latest [...]

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Queensland Votes: Public health services do not start at the ED door

Queenslanders will soon be headed to the polls in an election that has many Australians watching to see the verdict on the Newman Government and others querying the role of federal politics if the anticipated swing against the LNP eventuates.

Readers may be interested to look at this fascinating analysis of  twitter activity by Dr Axel Bruns of the QUT  Social Media Research Group for a less traditional insight into which way things may be headed. 

Croakey will be running a series of articles on key issues for the election in a Queensland votes series.  In this post Professor of Health Services Management at Griffith University, Gary Day looks at some of the issues for safe and effective health services.

Gary writes:

With the looming Queensland State election there has been little policy or major announcements from either of the major parties.  While there is currently a policy vacuum, it is timely to have robust debate about the types of public health services we really need and can afford.

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MICHELLE HUGHES | January 20, 2015 | CO-PAYMENTS | 2 |

Marching doctors

It’s often said that if you don’t know history, you are cursed to repeat it. Consumer health advocate Martyn Goddard has been around long enough to remember the last time that doctors were up in arms and marching in the streets against a conservative government.

It’s a tale that might usefully refresh the memory of a certain Prime Minister.

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Martyn Goddard writes:

No political party inspires such unity among doctors, consumers and health economists as the Liberal Party.

Around the country, we have been seeing a phenomenon created three decades ago, when most doctors transferred their allegiance to the policies of universal health care that they had once so vigorously opposed.

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